Mostly though, I am just a different person than I was a couple of years ago. I am now the mother of 2, I have learned to be okay with the things that I struggle with, I have more confidence than I have ever had and I have learned to let things go. This is probably the biggest thing for me. I see now how holding on to the past really held me back. Sometimes though, even when I thought that I was over something, it would creep up on me and catch me by surprise. I was startled sometimes to find that I was still holding on tightly to an old hurt or failure, like it was easier to wallow in old misery than it was to realize that I had moved on and it no longer had a hold on me. I read a great article in an old O, The Oprah Magazine a while back, "Women and the Negativity Receptor" written by Amiee Lee Ball. At one point in the article she talks about how as a child, she was always picked last for volleyball and "to this day, I regard myself as someone with zero athletic prowess. I always seem to be the least graceful person in yoga....I almost wept with gratitude when someone in a jazz dance class told me that I moved well. (this is the part that got me) I carry that clumsy little girl I used to be like a monkey on my back, partly because I am a..."Ruminator," someone who mulls, analyzes, worries about the past, present, and future (the word derives from the Latin for cows "chewing their cud"). If you're a ruminator (and the tendency is there fairly early in life, getting back to that identity card you're issued at birth), when you enter challenging emotional situations, you're more at risk for taking in negative messages—from family, school, the world—essentially turning them on yourself, building a big file of evidence that you really are a screw-up or that people don't like you." One of the psychologists that Ball mentions in this article is Susan Nolen-Hoesksema, who goes on to say the following. "Being a ruminator makes this stuff stick," she says. "But it is changeable. What cognitive therapy seems to do is not convince you otherwise but teach that you can look for alternative ways of viewing yourself. You say, "I know this bad stuff feels like it's true, but it tears me down." And you make the choice to think otherwise."
I am most definitely a ruminator. I tend to carry that messy, disorganized, sometimes weird, awkward little (and really not-so-little) girl like a monkey on my back, too. Once I figured out that is what I am, it made it so much easier to learn to let things go. When I catch myself mulling over the past or worrying about the present or future, I say, "stop ruminating!" That usually does the trick. Sometimes though, I have to pull that monkey off my back,